It only takes a quick glance at the news to be reminded that natural and man-made disasters can occur at any moment. Hurricanes along the east coast and rampant fires along the west coast seem to be dominating headline stories this season. If you become a victim of such a tragic event, you will undoubtedly turn to your insurance company to pay for damages to your home or car.
Unfortunately, not all insurance companies are eager to pay you the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies often work in bad faith and try to deceive or mistreat their paying customers. Make sure you are prepared to identify bad faith and fight it accordingly.
What is Bad Faith?
An insurance company works in bad faith when it denies a claim that should have been approved or offers an unreasonably low settlement without any logical reason. As the insured party, you pay for a contract with the understanding that your insurance company will respond in “good faith” toward all legitimate claims you need to make. However, some companies neglect this good faith and instead deny claims that then go unpaid and leave the insured party in a desperate financial situation.
Steps to Take Against Bad Faith
If you feel that you are being treated by your insurance company in bad faith, the first thing you need to do is confirm that you have upheld all of your contractual obligations to your insurance company, including making payments in a timely manner.
Once that is established, you should put your allegation of bad faith in writing using a letter to your insurance claim adjuster and company as a whole. State that your claim denial or low settlement offer is not fair, and provide your reasons in a succinct manner. Then state that your only logical conclusion to the state of affairs is that the insurance company is acting in bad faith. Explicitly declare that if a reasonable solution is not offered by a certain date, you will take legal actions.
Your letter may or may not resolve the matter. If it doesn’t, live up to your word of hiring an attorney. Many lawyers make their living going after bad faith insurance companies and helping bad faith victims reclaim the settlement money they should have had all along, plus damages for the process of bad faith. This could mean that your insurance company also has to pay for your legal fees, any lost wages you incurred during the process, and emotional distress.
At the Law Office of Joseph P. Bartek in Northern Washington, Attorney Bartek has decades of experience pursuing bad faith claims and helping his clients secure the payout they deserved all along. Call (360) 526-8584 to schedule your free consultation today.